Romanian superstar soprano Angela Gheorghiu has a huge reputation, for many things. Considered by many as one of the greats of this generation. Her performances on and off the stage have given her legendary status. A penchant for referring to herself in the third person, pre-performance sex ‘to relax the voice’ and well documented flare-ups with her ex-husband, the famed French/ Sicilian tenor Roberto Alagna have all provided substantial media fodder. The New York Sun simply calls her “the world’s most glamorous opera star.”
She returned to Covent Garden last month in the title role of the Royal Opera’s revival of Puccini’s TOSCA. It’s a part she knows well, creating the role of Floria Tosca in Jonathan Kent’s 2006 staging and later reprising in 2009 and 2011.
“It’s an exceptionally intelligent evening, and much of what Gheorghiu does takes you by surprise. With a grand diva playing a grand diva, I half expected self-dramatisation or melodrama, but in fact she’s remarkably subtle and restrained…her high C’s still have a heft that pins you to your seat,” wrote Tim Ashley in the Guardian.
It was with some trepidation that I left this sketch at the Royal Opera House stage door. To my delight it came back dedicated and signed with a spectacular signature, as one would expect.